Posts tagged: blog love
April 14, 2009

Elsie Flannigan of Red Velvet Art and A Beautiful Mess

I’m a big fan of the sweet exuberance of Elsie Flannigan’s work and blog. There’s a simple wholesomeness — and hopefulness — about it that never fails to put a smile on my face. Learn more about this young mogul below.


Tell us a little bit about A Beautiful Mess and Red Velvet Art. Why did you start each?

I started A Beautiful Mess for fun but I never realized what a big part of my life it would become. I have really enjoyed sharing my evolving interests in art & craft. I started Red Velvet Art (RVA) 7 years ago with my sister and best friend. We started out making merch for bands and it has evolved into a way for us to encourage each other artistically and creatively.

Running your own business seems so stressful, but you seem to handle all the details so gracefully. What advice do you have about staying organized and managing a big project?

It’s actually a team effort. We try to work together really well and keep everyone in a place where they are doing the stuff that they are best at. I could never do this by myself!

What do you think the significance of the crafting movement is, particularly for young women?

I think it is amazing! The most inspiring thing for me is discovering all the stuff going on. I am just so happy to be a part of it all and helping to make the DIY industry more beautiful every day. 🙂


What most inspires you? Who most inspires you?

The most inspiring person in my life is my boyfriend, Jeremy Larson. Also, I am very inspired by my mom, who is a painter. My favorite painter is Jim Houser. My favorite band is the Flaming Lips. My favorite album of the month is the new Animal Collective. My favorite new movie is Synedoche, New York.

What’s some of the best advice you’ve ever gotten?

“What doesn’t get done, doesn’t need to get done.”

What are some things on your life list (things you want to do before you die, or as I like to think of it, to feel like your living a great life)?

Just a couple of things on my list is that I would love to visit Japan, live in a cabin, have a baby, and design my own line of children’s toys.


What’s your ideal day look like?

Wake up early-ish. Coffee with the boy. Eat pancakes. Work. Go thrift store shopping!!!

If you could invite anyone to a dinner party, living or dead, who would come?

Charlie Kaufman, Bjork, Barack Obama, and my grandma!

You just won $100 on a scratch-off. How do you spend it?

On coffee and thrift store dresses.

What’s in your fridge right now?

Pineapple, left-over pizza, and orange juice.

If you’re hungry for more q & a’s, Jen at the Haystack Needle asked to do an interview with me; you can read it here! Thanks, Jen!

April 7, 2009

The Prettiest Blogs

The days have been a little gray in my neck of the woods lately, but nothing perks up my spirits like the gorgeous photographs at these two blogs. Both share a quiet, understated quality that I find so calming and, well, just too lovely for words…





photos above from lobster and swan





photos above from jeana sohn

April 3, 2009

Cooking and Screaming by Adrienne Kane


You may know Adrienne Kane through her wonderful blog Nosheteria, but reading her first book, Cooking and Screaming, you will really get to know her — her humor, her courage, and her love of good food and friends. As I was rooting for her triumph in the first 50 pages, I know I did. Weeks before graduation from Berkeley, Adrienne suffered an AVM that left the right side of her body immobile. But what set her back on course was her love of food, cooking, and of course, writing.

What did you learn about your process as a writer with this book? What advice do you have for others facing a big writing (or other creative) project?

Writing a memoir turned into a very cathartic experience for me, as I’m sure you can imagine. When I initially began the process it seemed very daunting.  At the time, I wasn’t even 30 years old, and was constantly facing the question of—what do I really have to say?  Well, the answer turned out to be, quite a lot!

I think that with this project, much like any major undertaking, it all boils down to just doing it.  It is not so important to think of oneself as a writer, or a cook, or a painter, teacher…  What is most important is to actively do any of those things.  My way of doing that was simply to sit down daily, whether I felt like it or not, and write. My advice to others is to clear the space in your everyday activities, and make sure to pursue what makes you happy.


Tell us what’s happened since the end of the book, when you and your husband were living in NY and he was in grad school.

My husband and I ended up having one exciting 2007-2008.  We were living in New York; Brian was finishing up a post-doc at Columbia University, and applying for teaching positions around the country.  Save for Nosheteria, I was struggling as a virtually unknown, hardly published writer.  I was working at a wine shop as a wine consultant; which is just a fancy title for a glorified salesperson.  Brian interviewed and got a job at Yale; and about one month later, I finally got a book deal.  We made the move to New Haven, CT, early last summer.  Brian toils away in the annals of academia, and I continue my writing pursuits.

What most inspires you (to cook, to create, to write, etc)?

For me, cooking, and being in the kitchen offers a great amount of comfort.  So, I guess what inspires me on a daily basis, is life itself.  When I just have one of those days when nothing seems to be going my way, I take solace in my chef’s knife—and not in the hari- kari sort of way!  Conversely, when I have that little swing in my stride, and that rosy glow in my cheeks, the only thing I want to do is feed others, and hopefully make them feel good too.  Cooking and eating is about community, sharing recipes, sharing nourishment, and sharing time.  What inspires me is having people with which to share those times.
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March 17, 2009

Happiness Tips from 1820

image via penwren

I’m a fan of anachronistic, old-fashioned traditions — everything from handwritten notes to saying “luncheon,” rather than lunch. But there is an added charm when the ways of the past are not so very different from the ways of now. Take for example, Sydney Smith’s letter written to friend Lady Georgiana in 1820 with tips for cheering oneself up [via the Happiness Project]:

1st. Live as well as you dare.

2nd. Go into the shower-bath with a small quantity of water at a temperature low enough to give you a slight sensation of cold, 75 or 80 degrees.

3rd. Amusing books.

4th. Short views of human life—not further than dinner or tea.

5th. Be as busy as you can.

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